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Twisted Motorhome Body?


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#1 RonnieG

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 02:07 PM

I'm looking for some help. I own a 2000 Southwind 36T. It droops to the right front.
The RV has 25,000 mi. on it, I'm the second owner. The first owner died and it sat for about three years until I purchased it. I noticed the droop to the right and I assumed it was a broken sping or a weak spring, I could not find a broken spring on examination and the springs all measured out level. I live near Orlando Fl. so I contacted "JOSAM" suspension (they're a world wide truck suspension company.) I took my MH there and it spent several days while they measured and examined the suspension thoroughly. They stated that the "frame" is straight and everything measures within less than 1/2 inch of specifications. They said the body of the RV is twisted and causes the droop. The droop is now about 2" from left to right because JOSAM tried a shim in the right rear leaf to raise it from 2 3/4" difference.

Anybody out there ever experience this?

Does anyone know how Fleetwood fastens the RV body to the F53 frame?

I would like to take as much of the twist out of the body before resorting to Airlifts to change the frame. I need some thoughts and ideas please.
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#2 desertdeals69

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 03:18 PM

If the frame is level the body might be crooked. Years ago I had a Pace Arrow which sheared the mounting screws on the right front side. The body drooped. The fix was to jack it up and refasten the body to the edge of the floor.
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#3 wolfe10

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 03:30 PM

Josam is one of the best. I would not twist the chassis (raising the frame with shims or air bags) to compensate for a twisted coach mounting.

Look with them for options for re-raising the body and/or call Fleetwood if the attachment method is not apparent to Josam.
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#4 RonnieG

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 03:47 PM

I have to crawl under and see how the body is attached. I would assume it is a series of bolts thru the frame. if it's the body itself, I'll have to jack and resupport it. If its the bolts I guess I can replace them. I guess it's all in the looking!! There goes the weekend!!! If anyone knows how Fleetwood attaches the body to the from (i.e. thru bolts from inside the body, U-bolts thru a support etc.) please let me know thanks.
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#5 wolfe10

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 03:50 PM

Josam has a lot of experience with motorhomes and suspensions. I would suggest that you crawl under with them to determine cause and best fix.

There are only a few shops around the country that I can recommend for this kind of work-- and you are at one of them.
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#6 RonnieG

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 04:19 PM

When I asked them at JOSAM what could be done, the answer was--"You'll have to crawl under and shim the RV body up in stages". Then I paid my $600 bill for 1- u-bolt an aligment and a shim and went home. My impression was they didn't want my football to play with??? Don't get me wrong, they spent time analyzing the problem and making sure my frame was straight, so I don't have a problem with the bill, but I think they didn't want to bother with the body. I'm a retired A&P mechanic, so nuts and bolts and big fuselages don't frighten me, I just thought it would be good to have some insight BEFORE I crawl under. I know that there are many experienced people out there so I thought someone might have experience with this.
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#7 RonnieG

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 07:53 AM

Just a note. I spoke to Fleetwood yesterday. There are no drawings available outlining the mounting procedure for the body. There are no technical people to talk with due to cutbacks. The "parts" technician was very helpful. The floor is mounted to the chassis with thru bolts then the walls are mounted to the floor via screws that are hidden under the "trim" rail that runs above your outside storage compartments. His statement was that if the wall was separated from the floor you should see the floor and wall move independently while driving. I don't see this but I do feel a slight movement under my feet while driving. I'm bringing the coach home this weekend for some other projects, and this will be under further investigation. I do have a drivers door and I did note that the support screws for the step where sheered off so who knows. More to come.
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#8 TexasRVGuy

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 09:18 AM

Just a note. I spoke to Fleetwood yesterday. There are no drawings available outlining the mounting procedure for the body. There are no technical people to talk with due to cutbacks. The "parts" technician was very helpful. The floor is mounted to the chassis with thru bolts then the walls are mounted to the floor via screws that are hidden under the "trim" rail that runs above your outside storage compartments. His statement was that if the wall was separated from the floor you should see the floor and wall move independently while driving. I don't see this but I do feel a slight movement under my feet while driving. I'm bringing the coach home this weekend for some other projects, and this will be under further investigation. I do have a drivers door and I did note that the support screws for the step where sheered off so who knows. More to come.

I think you are on the right track with regards to the support screws being sheered off. I do think it is strange that JOSAM isn't helping more. Maybe they feel they might make it worse and be liable?
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#9 mrboyer

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 11:24 AM

Hopefully, bolts were used to fasten the body to the frame. In 2006, Fleetwood used what looks like a very large, 3/8" dia., pop rivet. They are very hard. In order to install a tile floor, I had to grind off the heads of 11 "pop rivets", punch them through, and counter bore just enough to clear the head of new carriage bolts.
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#10 RonnieG

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 08:32 AM

Additional notes: I brought the motorhome to my house and throughly examined the attachment of the body to the floor. I could not find any seperation or indication of the wall "working" against the floor which would lead me to believe that it came from the factory this way. As part of the discussion with Fleetwood I was told that the tolerance at the factory side to side is 1". I can only believe this unit was checked on either a Monday at 8:01 AM or a Friday at 4:59 PM. I think my only cure to this might be "Airlifts" but I'll start a new topic for opinions. Thanks everyone for the thought's

Ron
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